F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
February 13, 2000
What Presidents Can Do About Abortion

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Barbara Bush says there's nothing a President can do about abortion, but what does she know?

In a recent television interview, former first lady Barbara Bush recommended removing the pro-life plank from the Republican Party platform, commenting that there's "nothing a President can do about [abortion] anyway." Colleen Parro of the Republican National Coalition for Life disagrees and spells out "exactly what a President can do."

Parro points out that the President can "nominate pro-life candidates for the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. He can require that his Cabinet officers respect the sanctity of life," she adds, "with particular emphasis on the Departments of Health and Human Services and State. The President can announce that he will veto appropriations bills that have one dime of taxpayer's money in them for abortion or abortion-related services, without exception. He can see to it that State Department officials in no way participate in the promotion of population control programs in foreign countries. He can ensure that the United States delegation to the United Nations be made up of people who believe in the right to life and refuse to participate in population control efforts sponsored by the UN."

Parro also points out that the President can "rescind every pro-abortion executive order issued by Bill Clinton. He can issue his own executive orders to stop experimentation on human embryos," she continues, "and on the bodies and organs of aborted babies. He can accompany this with a concerted effort to pass legislation outlawing those practices. . . . He can see to it that the National Institutes of Health is run by professionals who respect human life. He can call for legislation that would ban the cloning of human beings, genetic manipulation, and tampering with the human gene pool."

Parro opines that the President can "use the 'bully pulpit' of the presidency to call for a restoration of a Culture of Life in America. His White House can initiate pro-life legislation," she concludes. "He can use the constitutional powers of the executive branch to urge Congress to pass a human life amendment and extend 14th Amendment protection to unborn babies from conception."

Whether Barbara Bush knows it or not, whether she admits it or not, there is, as Colleen Parro has amply demonstrated, quite a lot a President can do about abortion, if he wants to. We as voters have the right -- the obligation even -- to demand to know exactly how every presidential candidate proposes to cope with this paramount issue of protecting innocent human life. We know that some of the candidates are avowed supporters of the alleged right to kill one's own children. They are morally corrupt and unfit to hold any public office. We know that some of the aspirants are determined to straddle the issue, taking no firm stand one way or the other. They are beneath contempt. We know, finally, that some of the candidates profess a pro-life conviction, though with varying degrees of fervor and nuance. These are the ones we must examine, warily, to determine if, as President, they would do what can be done.

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